Visit Belize in 2017 says Stride Travel

Posted on Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

belize-in-2017Stride Travel, one of the largest and most respected travel review sites on the internet, has selected Belize as a top adventure tour destination to visit in 2017. Stride Travel selected Belize for its world-class snorkeling and scuba diving, highlighting top sites like Lighthouse Reef atoll and the Belize Blue Hole.

Stride Travel also recommended that adventure vacationers take advantage of guided tours popular sites in Belize like the Maya ruins of Caracol and Xunantunich in order to learn more about the local insights and historical context of the country. Stride Travel included Belize along with Cuba, Greece, Iceland, Peru, Romania, and Thailand as adventure sites to see in 2017.

Based in San Francisco, California, Stride Travel provides first-hand reviews for guided tours, adventure travel packages, and cruises in order to make authentic world travel more possible.

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Located on the beautiful Placencia Peninsula, the award-winning luxury resort of Chabil Mar features luxury villas, beachfront dining, and some of the finest customer service anywhere in the country. Chabil Mar is only minutes away from top sites on the mainland like the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Preserve as well as the beautiful Belize Barrier Reef, home to world-class diving, snorkeling, sailing, and fishing opportunities.

Chabil Mar offers guests complete jungle and sea vacation packages in order to experience the very best that the country has to offer, including the scuba diving, snorkeling, and exploration of ancient Maya sites that were highlighted by Stride Travel.

Chabil Mar, Luxury by Design, Beauty by Belize.

Visit our website www.chabilmarvillas.com for more information on Belize, and don’t hesitate to send us an email, or call US/CAN Toll Free: 1-866-417-2377, Local: (011-501) 523-3606, if you have questions or need help in planning a Belize vacation.

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Belize Garifuna Settlement Day Celebration 2016

Posted on Monday, September 26th, 2016

garifuna flag Chabil Mar Resort Belize

The National Garifuna Council have announced the theme for this year’s Garifuna Settlement Day celebrations. This year’s theme will be Isiti, Pantati, Gabafuti, Iunrahowa, or “Rich, Proud and Powerful, Let Us Work to Preserve It” in English.

Every year on November 19, Belize commemorates Garifuna Settlement Day in remembrance of the epic journey of the Garifuna people to the shores of Belize. Originally descended from imported African slaves who intermarried with local Carib and Arawak peoples in the Caribbean, primarily on the island of St. Vincent, the Garifuna rose up against the British at the end of the 18th century. Britain, after winning several wars against France, began putting down the Garifuna rebellion, only succeeding in 1796.

Hounded by the British, the Garifuna made their way westward through the Caribbean Sea, stopping on the island of Roatan in what is now Honduras. Using dugout canoes, the Garifuna pushed on to avoid British maritime forces, ventually arriving in Belize on November 19, 1802. Their contributions to Belizean society were formally recognized in 1975 when Garifuna Settlement Day first became a national holiday.

Garifuna Settlement Day is a chance for visitors and locals throughout the country to taste Garifuna food favorites like cassava bread, hudut (a fish stew made with bananas) and darasa (similar to tamales but with green bananas and coconut milk), watch traditional dances like the Jankanu Dance, and listen to both traditional and Garifuna music.


See also: 6 Things to Know about the Garifuna people of Belize


The Garifuna have made substantial contributions to the musical scene in Belize, creating and shaping popular genres like punta and punta rock. Garifuna drumming, using instruments made from locally-sourced hardwoods and animal skins, is one of the most iconic features with its steady percussion of African rhythms and beats. In 2001, UNESCO proclaimed that the dance, music, and language of the Garifuna was a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

In towns with a significant Garifuna population, the holiday begins at dawn with a re-enactment of the epic voyage across the water in dugout canoes, followed by dancing, music, drumming, parades, games, and lots and lots of food. Look for the Garifuna flag with black, white, and yellow horizontal stripes that represent the sun, peace, and pride.

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Chabil Mar is an award-winning luxury resort located on the Placencia Peninsula and is near some of the best Garifuna towns to celebrate Garifuna Settlement Day like Seine Bight, Dangriga, Punta Gorda, and Hopkins. With elegantly appointed villas, a lush tropical garden, and Cafe Mar, one of the country’s finest restaurants, on site, Chabil Mar is the epitome of Beauty by Belize, Luxury by Design.

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Belizean Patriots Honored

Posted on Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

belize-flagGovernor General Sir Colville Young, Belize’s head of state, was on hand at the Bliss Centre for the Performing Arts in Belize City on September 15, 2016, to award 21 outstanding individuals for their contribution to Belize’s national development.

Every year, the Tribute to Belizean Patriots conveys honors to individuals in Belize, both past and present, as part of the run-up to Independence Day on September 21. Sir Colville Young was joined on stage by Diana Locke, the Director of Immigration, the Police Press Officer, Raphael Martinez, and several members of the Belize Defence Force.

Daniel “Danny” Conorquie, who was killed in the line of duty in 2014, was awarded along with 18 other individuals with Belize’s Meritorious Service Award. Conorquie, who served as a special police constable, was murdered on September 25, 2014, at the police post at the Caracol Archeological Reserve in Belize’s western Cayo District. Conorquie was honored for giving his life to defend the lives of tourists who were at the popular site.

At the Tribute to Belizean Patriots ceremony, two individuals were awarded the Order of Distinction. Benjamin Ho, the Taiwanese ambassador to Belize, and Dr. Jane Usher, matriarch of the Holy Redeemer Credit Union were awarded this prestigious honor for their long service to the country. Ambassador Ho began his career in Belize in 1994 when he served as the Senior First Secretary for the Republic of China and was later promoted to Ambassador.

Dr. Jane Usher, born in 1917, was on hand at the ceremony to accept her award for serving two consecutive terms as a local politician, a cabinet minister, and President of the Senate. Dr. Usher holds the unique distinction of being the individual who embroidered the first flag of Belize. Dr. Usher may be best known for her work in championing women’s rights, serving as the President of the National Women’s Commission. Dr. Usher founded the Holy Redeemer Credit Union in 1944 to offer affordable and accessible financing opportunities for Belizeans.

The staff and management of Chabil Mar extend their warmest congratulations to all of the Belize Patriots, and wish a wonderful and happy Independence Day to all Belizeans at home or abroad on September 21, 2016.

After several centuries of British colonial rule, Belize finally achieved full independence on September 21, 1981. Independent Belize is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and a parliamentary democracy with a proud record of high voter participation and free and fair elections.

The Music of Belize

Posted on Monday, September 19th, 2016

rp_belize-music-1024x683.jpgOften described as a true melting pot, the modern-day nation of Belize is a rich blend of different cultures, including the Maya, Garifuna, Creole, and Mestizo people.

During its earliest history, Belize was briefly under the dominion of Spain but then became Britain’s only mainland colony in the area. Later emigration of Mennonites from Germany and Switzerland added to the many European influences in Belizean music, including polkas, quadrilles, schottisches, and polkas.

Primarily from the Garifuna culture, local styles feature musical instruments like drums, banjo, accordion, guitar, and a donkey’s jaw bone (played like a saw or zither). The Mestizos, immigrants from Guatemala and Mexico, brought the marimba, double bass, and drum sets.

These various influences have created a number of distinct styles of musical expression in Belize. Cumbia, related to salsa and merengue, is a popular type of music played by troupes in areas where Mestizos live. Probably the most famous musical Creole style is known as “brukdown” (breakdown), a melodic mix of calypso featuring percussion and rhythms from a donkey’s jawbone, drums and banjos. Newer forms of brukdown are called “boom and chime” and feature the use of electric guitars, congas, and bass guitars.

Two related genres of music created in Belize are known as punta and punta rock. Developed by Garifuna musicians, punta and punta rock mix traditional rhythms and dance steps from African melodies and add modern lyrics to create a style somewhat similar to reggae. Punta and punta rock were developed for parties and social events where dancing is just as important a component as the music and singing.

Probably the most iconic component of Belizean music is Garifuna drumming. Whether as an accompaniment to other instruments or played solely, Garifuna drums are traditionally made from local hardwoods covered with a skin from peccaries (a kind of wild pig) or deer. Garifuna drumming preserves the flavor and intensity of its African origins, and is often played along with “siseras”, a kind of maraca.

The award-winning luxury resort of Chabil Mar on the Placencia Peninsula is an excellent place to stay in order to experience all of the rich musical heritage of Belize. With close access to Dangriga, the culture capital of Belize, and other towns and villages with a rich heritage of Maya, Creole, and Garifuna music, Chabil Mar features well-appointed villas, a lush tropical garden, and its own gourmet restaurant featuring elegant beachfront dining, with live garifuna drummers and dancers during our Friday night beach-side grill nights (in-season), where our chefs prepare your dinner for you on open grills adjacent to the dining area, outside.

Visit our website www.chabilmarvillas.com for more information on Belize, and don’t hesitate to send us an email, or call US/CAN Toll Free: 1-866-417-2377, Local: (011-501) 523-3606, if you have questions or need help in planning a Belize vacation.

Simone Biles tells New York Times Why She Loves Belize

Posted on Friday, September 16th, 2016

Simone BilesAt the young age of 19, Simone Biles holds the record for winning the most gold medals in women’s gymnastics in a single Olympics. After her triumphant performance as part of the Final Five during the Rio de Janeiero Olympic Games, Biles is now on tour of the United States to promote her sport.

Biles is proud to have represented the United States, but in a recent interview with the “New York Times“, she spoke about how Belize holds a special place in her heart. Biles is an American citizen but Biles has close ties with the Central American nation via her mother, Nellie Cayetano Biles, who is from Belize. Biles told the “New York Times” that Belize is her second home, and that she tries to spend at least one week every year with her extended family there, usually during the summer.

Biles spoke fondly about both her mother’s home on the mainland and how much she loves staying at resorts in and around the town of San Pedro on the popular island of Ambergris Caye. Biles proclaimed her love for the beach and enjoying activities like swimming, snorkeling, and fishing, remarking on the incredibly clear water that makes it easy to see the colorful abundance of marine life. Biles’s extended family especially enjoy fishing, rising at 7:00 in the morning to head out in the water, each member of the family competing to see who can catch the most fish or the biggest fish.

The Placencia Peninsula

the placencia peninsula

The Placencia Peninsula in southeastern Belize is a narrow strip of land fronting the Caribbean. Measuring 16 miles in length, it is renowned for having some of the most beautiful beaches in a country with more than 180 miles of them. At the south end of the peninsula is the picturesque village of Placencia, the unofficial capital of the area and the best place to enjoy a meal, do some shopping, or get fishing and diving equipment for a trip out to the nearby Belize Barrier Reef.

Located just a few minutes’ walk from Placencia Village is the  award-winning resort of Chabil Mar. Named from a Maya term meaning “beautiful sea,” the luxury resort has its own lush tropical garden, spacious villas, and a full range of spa and massage services. The Placencia Peninsula and the Chabil Mar resort would be two great places for Biles to visit on her next trip to Belize.